Saturday morning was a very brisk start to 2011. The thermometer at our house read -8 degrees, but the thermometer at the Pueblo airport, about a dozen miles to the East, was reading -21 degrees. But, oh, what a gorgeous morning! That perfect robin's egg blue sky, a few whispy clouds, the snow still hanging around....Still, it took a few moments to decide on how to dress in preparation for the, uh, task ahead. We finally made a decision on our wardrobe, gathered our sleepy son up, and hit the road. Our destination was Palmer Park in Colorado Springs, but first we had to make a detour to a friend's house nearby the park to drop Luke off. He wasn't happy about that since the original plans were for him to be with us, but he dealt since it was so cold and we didn't want to worry about him. Besides, he'd have a young friend to play with, and he loves that!
So, on to what we were doing. Well, we joined about 600 other crazy individuals and braved the frigid temperatures to run a race! It was the 33rd annual Rescue Run 5k and 10k, which benefits the El Paso County Search and Rescue. I guess a little over 700 people signed up (interesting, since we saw numbers over 1000, and I saw the number 1 bib), but not everyone came. That's okay, all the money still goes to help these rescuers who brave horrible conditions, bad situations, crumbly rocks, floods, snowstorms, get a little over-anxious on the Manitou Incline and Pikes Peak, and so much more in order to help keep those of us who love the outdoors safe. They even help those who aren't so outdoorsy! So, this is a fun way to show support.
The course was a moderately difficult one with a lot of hills. It also took us over pavement, slightly sandy soil, and gravel, all of which were covered by a layer of snow. And ice! I have heard that a number of people slipped and fell on the 5k run, especially on the way back down the hill. I am pleased to let everyone know Jeff and I both stayed upright, something that could've been tricky! Speaking of, I thought of grabbing my Yaktrax before leaving the house, but decided not to. Yeah, I think next year they'll be a must!
When we started our run it was a balmy 5 degrees. Toasty warm! Not really, but since the winds were calm, it really wasn't that bad. Once we started running, the toes warmed right up, too. Jeff wasn't sure which course he would do, though he'd initially planned on the 5k (this race you decide which one to run while on course). When we got to the fork he went right, making his first run of 2011 a 10k. I was behind him at this point and was happy to see him taking the challenge! You have to realize that I'm the runner. He runs really well, but he's a mountain biker. He grabs a few miles on his feet each week, but the rest of the time is spent on his bike. This was a big step! I did eventually pass him, but I wasn't sure what to expect on the amount, size, or distances of the hills, so I was preserving myself. He did a fantastic job of keeping a steady pace, and he still came in under an hour! I'm very, very proud of him.
Speaking of how the run went, I now know I can push myself a lot more on this course. I got stronger as the time went on, even while watching my footing so I wouldn't get hurt. By the last 2.5 miles I had a really, really good pace going. My last 1.5 miles I believe I ran about a 7:15 mile. I passed a lot of people, and the SAR teams posted at various points around the course got a kick out of my singing while running. I'm glad I could provide some laughter! I finished in a conservative 56:17 for the 6.2 miles. Not bad, considering the course conditions and the fact I had no idea what to expect on difficulty!
(horrible mid-stride shot, but you can see I'm definitely singing!)
Once we were done and cooled down (which, frankly, sounds really strange since it was maybe 10-degrees now), we headed back to our friend's house to have some lunch and pick up our son. It was a great, great day! The perfect way to begin what will hopefully be an active year, and a great new tradition for us. Happy New Year, everyone!